While I often look to your editorials for insights that represent what’s best for our greater community, I was taken aback by your recent editorial “Bait and Switch” [January 19].
My grandfather was a World War I veteran. My father was a World War II veteran. Two of my three sons are veterans; Michael served in the Iraq conflict, Cooper served in the protection of our homeland. I am so proud of all of them.
The editorial’s representation of “a residential program for veterans with mental health issues” and “Vietnam-era veterans with mental health diagnoses, who would require extensive support services,” in my opinion, expresses contempt for and bias against veterans who served our country and paid the price with their bodies, minds and souls. The trauma of war is real; is it not our duty to provide a safe and supportive place for those who have made that sacrifice?
I don’t believe that those of us fortunate enough to have stayed safely at home while others went to defend our freedoms have the right to judge the outcome of their bravery harshly.
Recent census figures report that Suffolk County is home to 56,257 veterans. Southampton is home to 3,060 veterans. Do we know how many of those veterans would benefit from supportive housing? We know that veterans, especially younger veterans, work in local businesses and are likely to volunteer for local service organizations.
Our political and social media has become a place where it has, sadly, become acceptable to say “the quiet parts” out loud, but your editorial crossed a hard line for me. Are we blind to the fact that there are homeless people living in tents in the woods on the very site where this housing has been proposed? Or that we are in a housing crisis that extends from the lowest-income residents up to those in our middle class? Or that the 30 workforce apartments will provide homes for employees who serve the businesses that we rely on?
Are we so pompous to think that our local Southampton residents won’t live there? Are we so riddled by trumped-up fear that this type of rhetoric can attempt to put political pressure on a vote that should never have been political in the first place?
Concern Housing’s proposal has been presented consistently as affordable and supportive housing since submitted in 2018. I have visited Liberty Landing in Ronkonkoma and Liberty Station in Port Jefferson Station on several occasions and have been consistently impressed with the quality of the buildings and grounds, the sense of community they have created, and the people I have met.
I have supported Concern Housing’s proposal for Southampton from the beginning and remain in support today.
East End YIMBY
One fine body…